Paradise Lost

  Above: Ben Duke in Paradise Lost

Above: Ben Duke in Paradise Lost

I was really happy when my phone rang that afternoon. On the line the tour manager of Ben Duke’s Lost Dog Dance asked if I was free to shoot some new promotional images on a very short notice. At that time my schedule was busier than ever; I was in the middle of a complex film set shooting five music-art videos in London. A full month as co-director and director of photography. Luckily Ben and his producer agreed on a date where I could escape the film set and join them at the Wilton’s Music Hall, a unique venue in London, where they were performing the show.

The assignment sounded quite simple: to create five striking images to use for the promotion of the play Paradise Lost. Great! - I said to myself - the kind of assignment I love to work on. I started to create a concept and to focus on the lighting and the mood I wanted the images to have. After presenting my ideas to the producer and having them signed off by Ben we were all very excited about the photoshoot. I would have two full hours to light and shoot the five images.

  Ben Duke in one of the scenario lit with different lights angled to accentuate the presence of his own shadow.

Ben Duke in one of the scenario lit with different lights angled to accentuate the presence of his own shadow.

As I learnt trough the years and I often repeat when I’m invited to teach, simple doesn’t mean easy. The company had a previous photoshoot with another photographer and none of the images were used. The five images had to be shot in five different scenarios and to be very emotive and poetic yet with an artistic touch due to the nature of the play. The final images were going to be used for Paradise Lost world tour posters and programs and published on a variety of magazine, press and internet publications. Everything very exciting so far with a little bit of pressure on: I didn’t know Ben and I had never worked with him before.

  Ben fully playing his character. Thousands of litres of water to capture this image. No chance to repeat.

Ben fully playing his character. Thousands of litres of water to capture this image. No chance to repeat.

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It doesn’t matter how well you prepare the technical aspects, at the end on an photoshoot like this all comes down to the photographer best skill: interaction with the subject.
The five images I planned were quite ambitious and before even opening my Peli Case and and attaching a lens to my camera I wanted to connect with Ben. After going though each scenario and sharing with him my vision I knew it was going to be a fun photoshoot.
He was amazing. An incredible performer. He kept feeding my ideas with his strong presence, he trusted me and my vision from the beginning. He was comfortable being directed that I even dared to go for an extra image scenario and said: “shall we use those thousands litres of water and stop the time?!”.

 

We couldn’t be happier with the result of the images. And that last image we both dared to create…it did the tour of the world.

Special thanks to Tal Weinstein (tour manager-producer).